Yep, this is a lively bunch of folks. Many of the 300 attendees are mid-career in some other field -- including technical writing, marketing writing, and academic writing -- and want to cross over into humor writing or add humorous elements to their current work.
David Barry, the keynote speaker, certainly lived up to his reputation. His speech started out fairly straight, but by the end the audience was howling as he described the flap that occurred after he wrote a column lampooning North Dakota's plan to change its name to "Dakota" for PR reasons. Barry wound up traveling to North Dakota to attend a ceremony at which the offended North Dakotans dedicated a sewage treatment station to him. And (they should have seen this coming) Barry then made fun of the sub-zero dedication ceremony. "You heard whump, whump, whump!" he exclaimed. "That's the sound of lots of mittens, clapping."
Never engage in a battle of wits with a syndicated humor columnist.
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